Who is she, standing just off-center,
her eyes on us, caught turning to us,
her arms folded over her chest,
a woman almost stone now?
What else can she be but stone? Around her
a heaving ocean of stone, cement shattered, splintered wood.
Lower right, close in: small boy’s smooth face.
He may be clenching the flowered dress near him
or clenching his fist.
The man in the white shirt, his arm outstretched—
shouting or sobbing? Others shouting or sobbing
and that lone figure dragging a wooden beam—
where will he lay it down?
Added: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 / Norgren's poem took First Place in the Split This Rock Poetry Contest of 2012. We are grateful to Jan Beatty for her judgement, our volunteers and interns, and all the poets for their submissions.
Constance Norgren is the author of the chapbook Same Boat (5 Spice Press, 2008) and co-author (with Lois Adams, Barbara Elovic, and Patricia Markert) of To Genesis (5 Spice Press, 2004). She lives in Brooklyn with her family and is an active member of Brooklyn For Peace.